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Friday, August 21, 2009

His Happiness is My Happiness

He woke up early. He was very excited this morning. It is his end of the midterm kindy party day.

"Mummy, what shall I wear?"
"Mummy, don't forget to bring the vitagen today."
"Mummy, I love school. I like to go to school."
"Mummy, teacher said no need to bring homework today."
"Mummy, I don't want to eat breakfast. I will be too full to eat the party food."
"Mummy, maybe I will win a prize."

He wanted to wear his belt, just like daddy. Unfortunately the buckle of his belt broke and I couldn't fix it. Lousy belt! He was happy when I put some gel on his hair, just like daddy. He selected a long sleeve shirt, just like daddy. He tried on his Chinese New Year shirt but then he said he looked like a girl when he wore it. Another short sleeved shirt which looks just like daddy's, was too big for him. So he picked the long sleeved one. I thought it would be too hot for him but I let him be.

He didn't want to have his breakfast because he wanted to save his stomach for the party food. We bargained about breakfast and he eventually drank his milk and ate one biscuit and off we went to school with him clutching the heavy bag of vitagens to be shared with his friends. At the school, he looked soooo happy. He ran around playing "catching" with his friends. Sweat trailed down his face and neck from all that running and I thought that he should have won that short sleeved shirt I picked. :) For the record, he didn't even want to try it. Just exerting some independance here I guess.

I love seeing him so happy. I love him so much. His happiness is my happiness.

My Mother Said......

My girl told me that the girl sitting near her puts her bag in such a way that when she stretches out her leg, she kicks it. So, the girl told her.......

"If you kick my bag, you watch it!"

I told my girl to stop kicking the other girl's bag. "If it is in your way, use your hands to gently push it out of the way. How would you like it if someone kicked your bag?"

She agreed that she would not like it. However, I told her that her friend was wrong as well. She should not talk in that manner. What she should have said was.... "Please don't kick my bag. You will spoil it."

My girl told me the girl said "My mother said one....."

I sincerely hope her mother didn't teach her to say "You watch out/it!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Little Love Notes

Remember his two girlfriends? Well, I had been too lazy to post up pictures of the little love notes but I thought I better get round to doing it for keepsakes. Haha. So that I can show it to him next time for a good laugh.

Here they are:

Here comes the love note all rolled up like a love letter cookie.

Taddaaaa! This is the surprised rolled up note which was tied up with a rubber band.

Here's another one featuring a boy and a girl enclosed in a heart.

There are more like these but I've lost them. Most of them come with lots of hearts and flowers with the couple holding hands or flowers. There was even one dressed in a wedding gown!

Aahhh little ones these days. I find it all very amusing but when he came back one day and said the girl mentioned the word "kissing", alarm bells rang and I had to quickly remind him "Cannot simply go around kissing people one ok? Kisses are meant for daddy and mummy only."

Apart from that, I think its sweet that they are such good best friends.

This morning he wanted to give a return note. He drew a similar picture and tied it up with a rubber band. However, when we reached the school gates, he chickened out and gave me the letter. "I think I don't want to give lah, mummy."

Welcome to the new century where even little girls are bolder than the boys. ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Parenting Challenges

I find that there are more and more parenting challenges to face when the kids go to school. Each day, I have a new set of problems to deal with.

"Mummy, today we were taking photos and the boy standing behind me vomitted all over my hair and clothes. Teacher gave me another uniform to wear but she says I must return it tomorrow." (I found her hair ribbon and net all torn and smelly. The boy's mother who happened to be around had helped her to "wash" her hair. She must have felt so bad and tried to clean the ribbon thoroughly ...till it tore. The girl smelt of vomit. Poor girl. She had to go around like that for a few hours.

"Mrs. MG, I think you need to know that your boy has been scratching his private part in class." (Alamak. The boy has this unconcious gesture of scratching there whenever he is feeling self concious and attention is on him.)

"Mummy, the naughty boy took my pencils and he almost poked my eye with it."

"Mummy, today, I climbed on the wall."

"Mummy, today, I looked at the boy behind me and he complained to teacher that I was trying to copy his test paper."

"Mrs. MG, I'm sorry, I couldn't stop him from crying. We were trying to play a clapping game and he couldn't clap in time with the rest, then he put his face down on the table and started to cry and we couldn't pujuk him no matter how we tried." (On that particular day the boy had been crying very hard when I went to pick him up. Usually he is laughing and smiling.)

And the list goes on........ Each day I hear something new.....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Quick Grammar Lesson In The Car

Since the level of English is so poor in school, I have to find time to teach the kids English myself. One day, we were travelling in the car and I taught them when to use "much" and "many".

You use "much" for things you cannot count like the rain, sand, sugar etc. You use "many' for things you can count, like trees, lamp posts, people etc.

Then we had a game. We pointed out to things that we saw along the way and decided whether to use "much" or "many". The kids were happy with the game.

Suddenly the small one said.... "Mummy, the car is going fast and I can't count the trees so, its so "much" trees." Hehehe.

Grammar lessons can be fun. It need not be taught straight from a text book. It can be taught anywhere, anytime using real life examples. ;)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Food Digestion From a Kid's Perspective

One day my 5 year old told me.....

"Mummy, you bluff me. You said that I will grow big if I eat food but how can I? After I bite the food it all disappears. So how can I grow big?"

I explained to him that when he eats, the food goes into his body and the good things get distributed all over his body and makes him grow big while the bad stuff comes out in his poo.

After a while he said......

"Mummy, I'm thinking that in my body, there are two robots. One robot will catch the good food. The other robot will catch the bad food and throw them on the floor and that comes out in the poo."

Lol. I guess you could put it that way......

Friday, August 14, 2009

Manglish Mandarin Chinese

Remember my boy who thinks in English when studying Mandarin? Well, he also thinks in Manglish.

Recently, I asked him whether he understood what teacher says when she speaks Mandarin Chinese to them in Class. He looked a bit bashful, then he said.....

"Yes, mummy. I know what 什么(shén me) means. It means ... What is this?"

I praised him. "Oh, thats very good. That means you understand what is going on in class."

He smiled and then he went on to say.....

"Yes, mummy. And 什么 一 (shén me yī) means .... What is this one?"

For the benefit of Henny and other readers who are not Malaysian, Malaysians are fond of saying "this one" instead of "this" For example,

"This one is not mine"

Or adding "one" at the end of sentences like this...

"I tell you... this fried rice is really delicious one."

My son was thinking one step ahead and making his own conclusions in Manglish (Malaysian English) which we speak at home. lol.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Tuition in Chinese Mandarin.... by a Banana Mom

This is what gets said when I try to help my girl learn Chinese using our trusted Electronic Dictionary which also happens to be my birthday present ...... Usually I will ask my girl to highlight the words that she doesn't know than we'll go through them.

"Can you stop playing with the dictionary. Don't waste time!" ..... Mummy, let me find lah, I am faster than you...."

"Hmm... I can't find the meaning of this word. Nevermind we'll skip it. ..... But I want to know mummy...... Well, I can't find the meaning and I don't know it, so lets just move on, shall we?"

"Aiyoh! Why you highlight the whole line? You know these words already what. We don't have the time to check each and every word. Just highlight the words you don't know.......But I want to know the whole sentence... can or not mummy, can you write down the meaning of the whole sentence for me.....No need to be so detailed one lah.....as long as you understand roughly can already lah."

"Mummy, no lah, its not pronounced like that. Its...........Wuah, your Chinese pronounciation not bad already hoh. Much better than mummy's.....Beams proudly.....

"This word means......"indicate" in English......."What does "indicate" mean?" ..... Errr errrrr.... wait lah, I check the dictionary for you." (Replace the word "indicate" with any other difficult English words. It happens all the time to us. This is just an example.)

And then finally..........

"Hmm..... no more battery already. Wait hah, I charge the dictionary first."

You see lah? Cham or not, trying to teach your kid Chinese when you don't know Chinese yourself is really really tough. Sometimes the father comes in and asks us......

"Eh, how come you two studying like fighting like that one hah?"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thinking in English

My boy now has ting xie or Chinese Spelling at his kindergarten. The other day, I was helping him to prepare for it.

However, I noticed that he thinks in English or uses English to learn Mandarin.

MG: Baby, write "huo"

My Boy: What is huo in English?

MG: Fire

My Boy: Oh Ok. (Writes the Chinese Character for "huo" or fire)

MG: Now, write shui.

My Boy: What is shui?

MG: It is water.

My Boy: Oh Ok (Writes the chinese character for "shui" or water)

After a while........

MG: Hey, you can't do it like this you know. Mummy cannot tell you the words in English. You have to listen to the Chinese words then write it.


He received a 6/6 for his ting xie.

MG: Wow! Thats good. Well, done. Did you listen to the Chinese words?

My Boy: No. Teacher told us "Huo" is fire. "Shui" is water.

Friday, August 07, 2009


My kids are fond of tattling, particularly the older one. She would often slide up to me, then in a whispering voice say "Mummy, baby didn't put soap when he washed his hands" or "Mummy, baby did this or baby didn't do that."

Baby does occassionaly do it too "Mummy, cheh cheh did this......" It is as if they derive a certain satisfaction to see the other being scolded or punished by mummy or daddy.

I have often told them that it isn't nice to do that. (The girl used to do it at kindy too.) How would you feel if your friend told teacher that you had been naughty and teacher scolded you? Don't do it unless your friend is doing something dangerous like playing with electricity, sharp objects etc.

Tattling happens frequently in school too. Recently, my girl told me that her friend had accused her of something and shouted loudly to inform the teacher to which the teacher replied "I don't want to hear of this small small things. Tell me only if its something dangerous." but as a punishment, the teacher asked her to stand up in class anyway.

It would seem that none of us knows how to handle tattling. We all do the double message thingy. We tell the tale bearer that it is wrong to tattle, and yet we punish the other kid anyway. Worse still, sometimes I say "Thank you for telling me." and at other times I say "Don't tell me unless its dangerous." How confusing it is for a child! But how equally confusing tattling is to a parent or teacher.

I read this article: "Why Kids Tattle and What To Do About It" It has some interesting strategies which I think I will try out today. (Since tattling goes on in my house daily!) Here's another interesting article too. Its for tattling in school but I think I can relate to some of it at home too: To Tell or Not To Tell: The Dynamics of Tattling.

You can check out those articles if you have to deal with tattling at home. At the same time, why not share your own style of dealing with tattling? I sure would appreciate more tactics and ways to deal with tattling.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Raising a Musical Child

It is very easy to raise a musical child. Music is everywhere. There is no need to send your child to expensive music lessons. I noticed that parents these days are sending their children to music appreciation classes at a younger and younger age. Not that its anything bad. Most of these classes require parent participation too if your child is very young, so its another way to bond with your child as well as other parents and for your child to socialise with other kids his age.

However, don't fret if you can't afford these classes. Like I said, music is everywhere. I don't send my children to any of these classes because its expensive and I don't have the time. However, they never lack music education at home.

I have sung to them from a very young age. That is the start of our musical education at home. Later on, when they attend kindy, I would use YouTube to search for whatever new song that they are learning in school and play it for them over and over again. They are always delighted by this. It is wonderful to see cartoons and animations and music for whatever new song it is that they are learning.

My daughter just started piano lessons last year at age 6. She didn't attend any music classes for toddlers before that but I don't think she has missed out in any way. Some of her teachers and examiners said that she is a very musical child.

She has music books that comes with audio CDs in them. We really enjoy listening to those audio CDs. Recently we deviced a new game using the music from the CDs. The music pieces are usually short and has a lot of variety. So we would put it on, then we would dance along with whatever music. If the music is bold and loud, then we would stomp around like elephants. If its a march piece, we would march around the house. If the music piece is light and fun, we may skip around and flutter about. Then when the music ends, we would stop midway and try not to giggle. I love to see the kids interpret the music with the different types of dances that they come up with.

Another game that we like is the clapping game. We would clap along with the beat of the music we are listening to.

Now that is what I call cheap and fun music appreciation that you can do for free in the comfort of your own home.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Setting up Craft Time for Children - Homemade Card

Now that the kids are older (aged 5 & 7), I find that its really easy to set up Craft Time for them. We keep a hoard of craft supplies in our "Craft Cupboard" at home. We have coloured paper, ribbons, pens, glues, paints etc, some of which are recycled items. Old Cards, Hampers etc are good for recycling craft items.

During the previous school holidays, I folded two hard white cardboard paper as a base to make a card, then I cut up some shapes using some coloured paper (You can ask your child to cut up the shapes themselves if they are old enough). I put them into two separate plastic folders (for each of the kids) and told them to design a Father's Day Card with the following instructions:

  1. Your card must have the words "Happy Father's Day" on it.
  2. Draw a picture of Daddy and You.
  3. Use the coloured shapes to paste and decorate your card.

Then I provided them with coloured pens, glitter pens, pencils and glue. Its really easy to set up this craft time. You don't have to send your child to expensive art classes or lessons for them to exercise some creativity.

This was our craft supplies for our Father's Day Card making project

This is the front of my girl's card.

This is the inside of her card. She has drawn our family portrait. :)

This is the front of another card she designed for me for my birthday.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Save the Best for Last

The kids have this funny quirk. Whenever they are given any food or drinks, they always try to save the best for last.

For example, if there is chicken nuggets in the food, they won't touch the nuggets till the last bite. If there is hot dog in the fried rice, they may even put aside all the hot dog, to eat it last of all, free of the rice and whatever "yucky" vegetables in the rice. Oh, No, their hot dog must not be "contaminated" by the vegetables must it? Nosiree.

So, its rather easy for me to get them to drink water for example. All I have to do is place a bottle of vitagen beside the water glass and the water gets downed in double time. So that they can drink the vitagen or yoghurt drink last of all.

Save the Best for Last. That is certainly their motto.

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